Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanks King's High School's Student Council

The library has been delighted to receive a significant donation from the students on the School Council.  The money, which was raised during the annual Workday, where students go out and work for a fee which is then donated to school for the benefit of the students themselves, has been spent, and the books have arrived.  There is a mad rush on now to get the books cataloged and ready so that students have access to them. The books purchased are mainly fiction and they have been focused on providing texts which will extend readers at every level of the school.  There are also lots of replacements for books which get very heavy usage.

In the photo you can see Porourangi Templeton and Adam Faatoese leaders of the Student Council with some of the books in the library workroom, giving a hand with stamping and taping the books. Thanks very much guys, your donation is really awesome!

Itch by Simon Mayo

Mad about science?  So is Itch, real name Itchingham Lofte.  He is a a collector of the elements of the Periodic Table.  He is after a complete set and will do whatever it takes to get hold of the elements missing from his collection.  Of course he realises that some of these elements are dangerous, but that doesn't really bother him.  His Mother is used to him blowing holes in the shed, breaking windows with explosions and all manner of other annoying behavior. When he is given a very unusual rock by an elderly man who sometimes helps him get elements to add to his collection other people become very interested.  And not interested for any good reasons.  Sinister men are chasing Itch and he isn't sure why, but it does seem to be connected to his new elements.  Even his science teacher at school seems to have turned nasty and is far too interested. 

This book is full of excitement and adventure.  Itch is a great character and while his quest is a bit unusual there is action all the way as he and his friends try to protect the dangerous rocks and at the same time find out exactly why the rocks are so valuable to all the people who are after them.  Watch the video below for a taste of the book.  See an interview with the author here.  He reads an extract from the book here, the sound is awful though you'll need to turn up your volume.  And download the app which makes the front cover of the book come 'alive'. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Seniors - Geronimo says "Get those books back boys!"

This is the greeting you get when you enter the King's High Library.  Boys, the man is serious!  If you are a senior and you have text books or library books or school resources you need to bring them back pronto!

BookGangers - and those who are bookneedy- you can borrow library books over the holidays - as many as you like.  Come and see Ms Schaumann to collect armfuls of them.
(many thanks to Mrs Garry at the John MacGlashan Library for the loan of the Indian)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Image from Barry Lyga's website

Jasper, known as Jazz, has a terrible disability, a father who is a world famous (infamous) serial killer and a grandmother who is armed with a gun and not afraid to pull the trigger.  Because Jazz has always lived with his father, well until his dad finally got caught by the local police and consequently locked away forever, he has picked up rather a lot of information on the ways of your average serial killer.  He has witnessed lots of things he shouldn't have.  Jazz however is a good guy, not inclined to bad stuff at all and he has a great relationship with the cops especially the Chief of Police.  Jazz is living with his grandma but she is getting very old and losing her mind more than a bit and the social-worker is starting to figure that out.  The last thing Jazz wants is to end up in a foster home, he likes it just fine with grandma.  But then the bodies start to appear.  Jazz knows it isn't his dad who is doing the killing, after all he is safely locked away, but it starts to look suspiciously like Jazz is in the frame for the murders.  Time to give the police investigation a helping hand and hunt for the killer himself! 

This is a great creepy book.  Fans of Criminal Minds will love it.  Jazz is a great character and his best friend Howie and girlfriend Connie are sometimes funny, often really scared and always interesting.  Highly recommended for year 11 up.   Book Trailer for this fantastic book is here.  But it isn't for the faint-hearted!

The Stratos Jump

Millions saw Felix Baumgartner jump from 128,000 feet - or the edge of space.  Here is a Lego take on it!

If you want the actual video you can watch it below.  

A real test of human endurance.  If you like this kind of thing you might be interested in reading some of our biographies or books telling tales of extreme endeavours and magnificent feats, come and see Ms Schaumann for some suggestions.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The great New Zealand ShakeOut in the library

On Tuesday this week New Zealand held a national event called The Great New Zealand ShakeOut to educate the population about what to do in an earthquake.  At 9.26am Year 13 Media Studies were in the library completing assignments and on the ringing of the bell everyone dived under the tables and benches joining in with the 1.3 million New Zealanders who took part.  Although it was a light hearted moment it was also a serious thing.  We thought about Christchurch and the tragedy of the earthquake there and also knew that in our country 'the shakey isles' that the threat of an earthquake is never far away. 

Pictured below are Anthony and Lee participating by diving under the benches in the library.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The best of the best YA fiction 2012

Every year the Young Adult Library Services Association (USA)  issues a challenge to young people in the USA to choose the best books of the year.  Because the books are picked by teenagers they are pretty much guaranteed to work for teenagers the world over.  This year the list has a heap of books which are already being appreciated in the King's High Library.

The complete list of this years finalists is here.  Below are the ones from the list currently in the library or which will shortly be available.

Set in 2083 against a background of shortages, droughts and governments who have outlawed chocolate and coffee.  Anya tries to tread the fine line of managing her life, a life where she has so many responsibilities and is keen on the 'wrong' guy.

When you are 16 you get to choose your tribe.  What happens when you decide to go against the way you have been brought up and you choose the tribe with the way of life which is the complete opposite of everyone you know and you must learn everything from scratch?  This book is really exciting, compelling and really popular at King's.  Insurgent the sequel is also in the library.  You'll have to reserve this book to get hold of one of the three copies we have.

When your family has nothing, will you take to crime to help them survive?  Day is on the run, the police believe he is a master criminal and set their best soldier to the task of bringing him down.   

Two teenagers with cancer, yes, it's really sad, and it shouldn't be funny at all, it shouldn't have great moments of teenage happiness in it, but it does.  These characters will break your heart but make you feel like you want to read all about them all over again when you've finished.  Another fabulous novel by John Green, the writer who can do no wrong when it comes to writing for teenagers of all descriptions.  Read this book!

An electromagnetic pulse destroys much of the world's technology, and turns a bunch of the inhabitants into zombie like creatures.  The boys who've read this book have found it pretty grim, good, but grim.  Try it out, see what you think.  It is the first book in a trilogy.

This novel is the story of a grandson trying to find the truth about his grandfather.  In an effort to investigate the mysteries of his grandfathers youth Jacob and his Dad go to a remote island off the coast of Britain, Jacob finds the extremely odd place where the stories of his childhood, which he always thought were made up, appear to be based in truth.  Weirdly wonderful.

Every night Connor wakes with a nightmare.  A nightmare which seems to be real.  A monster is coming into his room, but it is not a monster with evil on it's mind it is a monster who will help him to heal.  Who will help him to confront the truth.  A beautiful sad book with inspiring art work.  A book to treasure.

Some of our boys have read most of these titles already or are waiting patiently to get hold of them.  If you are looking for an excellent read, all or any of the above books would make a great choice.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Check out Warren's cake!

Warren, reader of books, swimmer of renown, triathlete potential star, library stalwart and supporter, busy in lots of areas around King's High, had a birthday yesterday.  He was also awarded a Blue for Swimming at the Blues Awards Ceremony, so it was a great day for him.

Today he bought in a piece of his 6 colour cake to show it off to us in the library, and wow, it was an impressive sight.  Photos were taken of the impressive item and I share them here!  Check out this amazing cake!  Warren tells me it tastes as amazing as it looks.

The end of peer reading 2012

Peer Reading (where some of our year 12 and 13 students help out our year 9 students who find reading challenging) is over for 2012.  Everyone has had a great time and learnt a lot, both the seniors and the juniors.  The students have made lots of valuable conversations and connections across the school, lots of new skills have been learned and a big improvement in the reading and reading confidence of the younger students.  Peer Reading rocks!   Thanks to Mrs Brown and Ms Taylor who have been awesome at organising the whole Peer Reading Programme. 

These photos are of a couple of the groups who sat outside in the quad instead of in the library on a lovely sunny morning this week.
Nick and Jesse nearly finished a book.

Adam and Michael working together.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Real Life Emoticons - this is fun!

Courtesy of Boing Boing this is the answer you have been looking for, it explains perfectly the various emoticons (these :) things) with real life facial expressions to show you what they mean.  It is so cool, and get her hair!

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Big Book Re-purpose - A challenge for the BookGang

Weeded books waiting to be 're-purposed'

BookGangers bookgrabbing!
Today is the first day of the latest BookGang project, which we are calling The Great Book Re-purpose.  The library has been having a chuck out of many of the elderly and unused books from the non-fiction shelves.  A challenge has been issued to the members of the BookGang.  What can you make out of these books?  Make a fabulous new item from these elderly tomes!  There will be prizes for the best of them and I can't wait to see what they guys come up with.  Competition ends on the last school day of September.  Bags are available for students to carry away as many books as they can carry.  If you missed out on the book scramble today there are plenty left, so come on in and grab some. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Banned books = beloved books

Below is a video made by Bookmans, a bookstore/bookexchange (and other media too) in the USA.  In the video you will see lots of books which are classics of English literature and some of which are really popular at King's. You might be surprised at some of the titles you see in the video.  There are even some that we study as class texts.  All of the books have been banned in various places - the USA is particularly enthusiastic at banning books sometimes.  How many of the banned titles have you read?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Brotherband: The Invaders by John Flanagan

Reviewed by John Burke (Year 9) as part of the 50 Book Challenge
This is the second book in the Brotherband series, they are action adventure books about a group of people living in viking times.  In the first book we have learned how the boys have struggled to survive the thee months of trials at sea, weapon training, survival competitions and fighting teams of other recruits to become part of the Brotherband.  They can then defend their territory and fight priates and bring back precious cargo.  To get the grasp of the series you should start with the first book and read them in order. 

Hal and his bunch of friends are a Brotherband, sailing after Zarvac and his crew of pirates who have stolen something very important, and they need to get it back to retain their honour.  If they don't get it back they will be forever outcasts in their village.  To do this they even have to lay seige to a town.

This book has got action, adventure, battles and even a little bit of humour and I liked everything about it. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Josh discovers the power of books

This is Josh.  Josh is in year 12 and has avoided his librarian's pleas to begin a great book, he has been a book non-believer during his time at King's High School.  That is until now!  Josh made the decision the other day to have a go at The Hunger Games but, even though we have 12 copies of that book in stock, there were none available because they were all issued.  Having made the decision to read a book he went along with my idea that I could find him a book he would enjoy just as much as The Hunger Games and he went away with How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff.  He has been back every day since he took it out to tell me how great the book is.  He can't wait to get back to the story to find out more and he says his family can't believe that he is reading instead of watching TV or listening to music.  Josh came in today to talk to me about the book, where he is up to, how much he loves the characters and how much he has read.  Here is a photo of him with the book and you can see from his gorgeous smile how excited he is.  He keeps saying "How come I didn't know books were this cool Miss!"

Monday, August 13, 2012

V For Vendetta by Allan Moore and David Lloyd

Reviewed by Charlie Davis (Year 12)
The year is 1997, the date November 5th and Evey Hammond is in the clutches of England’s secret police known as Fingermen. Who will save her from the terrible fate that has come to many other young girls on the streets of London? In swoops in V, a man in a cloak and wearing a Guy Fawkes mask. Killing most of the Fingermen, V takes Evey to the roof of a near by building to show step one of his plan, the destruction of parliament. After detonating the bomb V takes Evey to his home which he calls “The Shadow Gallery.”

Let’s take a few steps back, this is not the 1997 London that we all know, Moore brings forward a post-apocalyptic dystopian world that has been brought to its knees. After a nuclear war in the late 1980’s what left most of the world in ruin, England falls into the hands of a fascist government party called Norsefire. Norsefire gained power by throwing its enemies in concentration camps and exterminating them. 

V, a former prisoner of Norsefire, is a masked anarchist whose plan it is to systematically wipe out the members of Norsefire and free the people. In captivity V was one of 48 prisoners injected with a chemical called batch 5. He was the only survivor and the chemical caused a cellular mutation leaving him with superhuman strength, reflexes and pain barrier.

I loved this graphic novel, not only is the story incredibly entertaining but very thought provoking and is coupled with brilliant art work. Moore, an anarchist, put many of his own ideals into V and is very good at making a graphic novel relevant. V for Vendetta is very well written but I think if it was just a novel it would not be as good, the illustrations bring more to the story than a graphic novel usually does.

At the end of the book everyone will have one of two opinions; either V was right, or completely insane. I personally agree with V, but I know many people who don’t.  I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of graphic novels as this is one of the greats. I would also recommend this to anyone who likes a heavily political read or a fan of Moore’s other works like Watchmen or From Hell.

Rating:  4 ½ stars (I would give the movie 4 stars)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Duty Calls by James Holland

War stories are always very popular here at King's.  This one, which is conveniently titled very similarly to a very popular video game is no exception.  You want action?  Heroes?  A story of survival?  This is a good book for you.  Check out the book trailer below. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Reveiwed by: Charlie Davis (Year 12)

The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club, the second rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club. Well here go the first two rules!  Fight Club is the first novel by Chuck Palahniuk and he definitely started his career in a magnificent fashion with this deeply relevant and thought provoking book.
The story follows the life of a 30 year old unnamed protagonist who suffers from severe insomnia. After his doctor suggests he goes to a support group for men with testicular cancer to see ‘real suffering’ he finds that losing all hope in life allows him to feel free and sleep. He became addicted, attending a support group every night for a year.
When the narrator realises another ‘tourist’ attending his support groups the spell is broken and his insomnia returns, enter Marla Singer. Her lie makes him realise his own lie and he begins to hate Marla and when he confronts her they strike a truce and attend different groups.
Whilst on a nude beach on a business trip the narrator meets Tyler Durden, a confident, charismatic man with strong beliefs in initially mysterious things. When the narrator returns home he finds his apartment and all his precious possessions destroyed in an explosion. He contacts Tyler and in exchange for a room at Tyler’s rented house on Paper Street the narrator is asked one question, ‘I want you to hit me as hard as you can.’  With that question the narrator is thrown head on into a world of violence, love, hate, sex, mischief, mayhem and soap, with eye opening experiences and deadly consequences.

I found this novel incredibly enlightening and changed my perception on things, Palahniuk’s brutal honesty in this book terrifying at first but then liberating. This book is definitely not for someone who just wants a simple story and a happy ending, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to think, and have their pre-decided ideals questioned and changed. If you’ve ever wondered, ‘is there anything wrong with the society in which we live?’ Then this is the book for you. This book tackles ideas such as anti consumerism, anti capitalism, non conformism, masculinity, hopelessness, salvation and the ability to change the world. This book dares to challenge things and bring forward the possibility of something different.

Palahniuk uses a minimalist approach with this novel, keeping characters, places and description to a minimum. This allows the reader to concentrate more on the story and the ideas behind it. This also allows for a fairly short book coming in at only 218 pages.

I call this my favourite book, because no book has affected me as much as this one and I consider it an inspiration. I think anyone and everyone should read this book as it is simply incredible.

‘Generations have been working in jobs they hate, just so they can buy s--- they don’t really need.’      Tyler Durden

Rating: Five stars our of five  (I give the movie five out of five as well!)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Get with the programme! It's Maori Language Week!

Maori Language week is a chance to learn new skills.  You know learning languages is good for your brain and because Maori is all around you in New Zealand it is ideal.  Increase your brain power and learn Maori to impress your mates with your cool skills and when you get really fluent you can get a great job when you leave school! 
Here is one of the Maori Language Week videos promoting this years events. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Meet Tris, she is 16 and as the book starts, like all the people who live in her world she knows that very soon she will be making the decision which will affect the rest of her life.  She will choose which tribe she will belong to.  Each of the tribes has different characteristics from warlike folk who defend the parameter of the country to those of a mellow disposition who care for the sick and take care of others.  Beatrice makes her choice and chooses a life of danger, excitement and experiences totally different to those she has grown up with.  From day one she is thrilled, shocked, scared and quite alone.  Life in this faction is a competition and only the strong survive. There is nobody she can trust, or is there? 

This book is about making choices which will change your life and being strong.  It is the first book in the trilogy and the second book is now in the library too.  Dystopian novels are huge in the library and this is one of the best.  Highly recommended.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Are you the biggest Harry Potter fan in NZ or Australia?

It is the 15th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter And The Philosophers Stone and to celebrate that Bloomsbury - who publish the book - are having an enormous competition to find out who is the biggest fan of the bespectacled one.  You can win mountains of prizes and imagine the thrill of being named the winner.  400 bookshops in NZ have signed up to take part including Whitcoulls Dunedin, so you can enter the competition there.  Head over to Booksellers NZ for how to do it.  

Below is JK herself talking about the 15 year anniversary.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Kameron has some REALLY BIG cards

This is the latest craze in the library!  Kameron has changed the nature of card-playing at lunchtime and interval with his massive cards!  The massive cards draw a massive audience too. Card playing has been picking up in popularity this term, with the cold weather keeping the boys indoors, but this new eventuality has really pulled in the crowds.  While they are cool, the cards take up a huge space in Kameron's schoolbag which means he isn't keen to bring them to school every day, but when he does he is Mr Popularity! (a massive draw - excuse the pun!)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

BookGang guest speaker Joan MacKenzie from Whitcoulls

Today at BookGang we were very privileged to have Joan MacKenzie come and visit us.  Joan is the person who chooses and buys the books for Whitcoulls in New Zealand.  This is a huge job, Whitcoulls are one of the biggest sellers of books in NZ and they have stores all over the country.  Joan gets to choose what they stock from all the thousands and thousands of books which are offered by publishers.  What an awesome job!  Joan spoke to the BookGang about e-books, about how she chooses the books which are stocked in the shops, she asked the boys about things they would like to change in the shops, and told us heaps of other interesting things about the book publishing and retail industry.  She then spent some time in the library looking at the sorts of things which are bought for our students and asking about the things the students like to read.

Joan also spoke about new books which BookGangers are waiting anxiously for, the new Cherub book, the new Charlie Higgson book and the new J.K. Rowling book.  The boys crowded around and were really excitedly noisy wanting information on all these!

Really really excitingly, she donated a lovely selection of books to the library which we are incredibly grateful for.

Below are some photos of Joan speaking with the BookGang and we thank her very gratefully for the opportunity to have her come to our school.
Joan speaks with our boys

BookGang listening to Joan speak

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Nature of Ash by Mandy Hager

Boom!  A new book by Mandy Hager! Her book Smashed is so popular here, I was really pleased when this new one turned up.  The Nature Of Ash is about a 17 year old university student called Ashley who has left home for the first time, finding his way in his first year of freedom from home and family life.  This is a big thing for him because when he was a small boy his mother died and his Dad has bought him and his brother, who has Down Syndrome, up alone. This has led to a really close relationship between the three of them.  Ash has had big responsibilities all his life, a Dad who is a union activist and always controversial and newsworthy and a brother who needs constant help and supervision and no Mum. Now with the political situation

The action starts from page 2!  With police flying Ash home to deal with the horrific situation which has left his Dad dead and needing to be identified, dealing with his own and his brothers grief.  It turns out that the bombing which has killed his Dad is just the beginning of a bigger escalation in a power play between the world powers.  The world has become divided, the major powers have realigned and politics has completely changed in the world.  New Zealand is being dragged into an international situation which won't have a good outcome for anybody.  Corruption is everywhere and the politicians have become puppets for bigger more powerful groups of countries.

As warships are massing in the harbour, train-lines are being disrupted, bombings are happening in all the major cities, violence, rioting and mistrust are prevailing and Ash is involved in a dangerous journey to search for the mother he thought was dead.  A journey he is undertaking with Jiao, a young Asian girl who is trying to rescue her parents, Mikey his brother who is a handful at the best of times but under pressure like this is likely to blow. Then there is Travis who has been lumped in with them for reasons Ash is increasingly suspicious of.  They will travel north, into the wilds of New Zealand, they will be lied to and treated really badly, it will be dangerous, but they will also meet with incredible kindness.  Ash doesn't know who to trust, and when he does trust people it doesn't always turn out to be for the best. 

If you have enjoyed Divergent or The Bridge and like a really fast paced thriller then you will connect with this book.  You will also find a strong message in this book, a commentary on the state of the world, politics, the importance of family, trust and loyalty.  I found myself waking up to think about this book, staying up very late to get it read, it was just so exciting.  Occasionally I had to come up for a breather because the pace was so relentless.  I think our students will relate to Ash and it will certainly make them think about New Zealand's place in the world.  I was particularly terrified by the idea of only being able to have a shower for 2 minutes - that would be awful on a cold morning!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones

Looking for a really good crime novel?  Then Blink & Caution might be your next read.  It is one of those books which hooks you right at the beginning and you will just have to keep on reading to find out what will happen to the characters. If you have enjoyed I Am The Messenger by Marcus Zusak or you want a novel with lots of action which will make you think, then this is the book for you.
Blink is a guy who is living on the street, his Mum has a new partner who beats Blink up and is sarcastic and nasty to him.  Blink has had enough and has taken off and has been living rough for a while now.  He has a system for getting breakfast, he stole some clothes from a rich teenager and he wears these into swanky hotels and eats food from the trays waiting to be cleared from outside the rooms.  While doing this one day he witnesses some very strange behavior.  It seems that a guy has set himself up to look like he has been kidnapped.

After a series of  events Blink meets Caution. Caution has become involved with some very dodgy guys, then stolen quite a large sum of money from them and now they are after her and she is on the run.  Caution is a tough girl, she is street-wise and fairly angry.  She has plenty of issues of her own, not the least of these is that she has killed someone and is dealing with all the guilt and trauma of that. 

These two damaged and lonely people meet in the midst of a crime and are forced into a partnership through the circumstances they find themselves in.  Blink and Caution will win you over with their  warmheartedness in the midst of a terrible situation.  They are sometimes funny, sometimes angry and at all times very tense.  It is a great story, really pacey, and had me flicking the pages really quickly to get through the story.

Recommended very highly! Book Trailer from the publisher below.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Thinking about your online life

This cute video has a great message for everyone, not just teenagers who are all over Facebook but also older folk new to social networking.  Being safe and sensible online is important for everyone in the world today.

One thing not mentioned in the video but which is really important to our students, is the message not to share your password with anybody else, and don't make it too easy to figure out. Above all be sensible!

Peer Readers meet the Highlanders

This morning, as we usually do on a Wednesday morning, we had Peer Reading in the library.  This means that a group of those Year 9 students who find reading and understanding what they read challenging work with Year 12 and 13 students to try and make it easier.  We have been running this programme for several years now and not only does it help our students get better with reading, it also makes for some great friendships between the junior and senior students. 

Today was a special day though because two of the winning Highlanders Super 14 players, Phil Burleigh and Mike Delany, visited King's Peer Reading and helped too.  Here are some photos!
Zac and Josh with Highlander Mike Delany
Sam and Jessie with Highlander Phil Burleigh